HC Deb 02 December 1958 vol 596 cc1016-7
37. Mr. Lipton

asked the President of the Board of Trade what quantity of potatoes has been imported as the result of the licences he has recently issued.

Mr. J. Rodgers

About 44,000 tons up to 22nd November.

Mr. Lipton

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the idea of these imports was to bring down the excessive price of potatoes? Does he recollect that on 13th November, his superior but silent officer-commanding said that it was Government policy to go on granting licences until the excessive price of potatoes was brought down? What is the Minister doing? Is he granting more licences? What effective steps is he taking to reduce the price of potatoes?

Mr. Rodgers

During October, there was a possibility that marketings of the home crop, which had been delayed by bad weather, might become heavier and the Government were reluctant to allow imports to begin until they were satisfied that this would not be the case. In fact, the licensing began a month earlier this year than last year.

Sir J. Duncan

Can my hon. Friend say what was the average price of the imported potatoes?

Mr. Rodgers

Not without notice.

Mr. Lipton

The price is too high.